Download E-books Ifa Divination: Communication Between Gods and Men in West Africa PDF

By William Bascomb

"The sacred texts of Ifa, repository of the accrued knowledge of numerous generations of Yoruba humans, are a useful resource not just for all scholars of African oral literature and Yoruba civilization, but additionally for destiny generations drawn to the ongoing power of Ifa divination and a Yoruba lifestyle and thought." —Henry Drewal

This landmark research of Ifa, an important and problematic method of divination of the Yoruba humans of Nigeria, continues to be a enormous contribution to scholarship in anthropology, folklore, faith, philosophy, linguistics, and African and African-American studies.


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Okpelle contains 8 items of bark on a string. those 8 are prepared in fours. all of the items of bark may well fall both with the skin or the interior ~bowing. therefore every one set of 4 could fall in 16 alternative ways, having diverse names and meanings. " Wyndham then lists those 16 figures and their names, the names of the 16 paired figures, or "Messengers of Ifa" and discusses the mixtures: "These combos are referred to as young ones of the Messenger who appears to be like at the correct. therefore, Ogbe Yeku is a toddler of Ogbe; Oyeku Logbe is a toddler of Oyeku. From this it is going to be obvious that Okpelle can exhibit 256 mixtures. "Procedure. -A guy involves a Babah1wo to refer to Ifa. He areas a present of cowries (to which he has whispered his wishes) sooner than the Babalawo. The latter takes Okpelle and areas it at the cowries. He then says, 'You, Okpelle, understand what this guy stated to the cowries. Now inform me. ' He then lifts Okpelle and lays it at the ground. From the messenger or baby which looks the Babalawo is meant to infer that his shopper wishes a son, has stolen a goat, or has a toothache, because the case might be. He then tells him what he needs to deliver as a sacrifice to accomplish his ends. " S. Johnson (1921: 33) describes the strategy very in short. "To seek advice Ifa, within the extra universal and traditional means, sixteen palm nuts are to be shaken jointly within the hole of either arms, while convinced marks are traced with the index finger on a flat bowl dusted with yam flour, or powdered camwood. each one mark indicates to the consulting priest the heroic deeds of a few wonderful heroes, which he duly recounts, and so he is going on with the marks so as, till he hits upon sure phrases or words which seem to undergo upon the problem of the applicant ahead of him. " Meek (1925: II, 69-70) provides a much less exact account: "Ifa may be approached via his monks on convinced days. The god makes use of as his medium 16 strings of palm-kernels, that have been consecrated to his use through sure difficult rites. each one string represents a few minor divinity and has 16 kernels hooked up to it-the overall variety of kernels being therefore 256. With the kernels are linked an exceptional many tales of the gods, and in accordance with the combo of the variety of kernels, once they were gone through the hand, so is the priest in a position to observe those numerous stories to the for instance. " Talbot (1926: II, 185-186) attracts in general on J. Johnson: "The real divining is practised with the aid of 16 palm nuts from the Awpe-Ifa tree, each one of which generally possesses 4 or extra eyelets. every person of 20 Ifa Divination those palm nuts represents 16 subordinate powers, known as Odu, and every of those latter one other 16 . . . . All are linked to parables or conventional tales with which the Babalawo is meant to be familiar. A deepwhite, flat and customarily round wood bowl or platter, occasionally finely carved, referred to as Opon-Ifa, is utilized by the diviner, who makes on it sure marks according to the variety of nuts ultimate in his left palm after he has seized as many as he can carry in his correct.

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